And so it begins….
The real “threat” of Initiative 985 is that it would shift money that now goes into the state General Fund to pay for schools, prisons, etc. into a special Traffic Congestion Relief account.
That’s about $120 million a year because it would take 15 percent of the sales tax on vehicle sales.
Tim Eyman, I-985’s sponsor, is pushing congestion relief, which is mostly a bogus issue. The state already spends $1 billion to $2 billion a year, every year, on projects that could be considered “congestion relief.”
But he’s tried to make it more attractive to voters by saying I-985 will open carpool lanes during off-peak hours and by putting forth another sorta phony issue: taking 1/2 percent of project costs that he implies are now spent on public art and putting that in the new account, too.
The latter issue is 95 percent straw man. Most of the public art projects you see that are related to transportation have nothing to do with the state Department of Transportation. More than likely, those are Sound Transit or other transit agency projects. Sound Transit has a 1 percent public art set aside for construction projects, except for the really expensive tunneling jobs.
DOT spokesman Lloyd Brown said the last time DOT spent money on art was 7 to 9 years ago.
The last WSDOT capital project that had a public art component was the Spokane Eastern Region building in 99-01 biennium. Art was an interior sculpture and wall art determined through the outlined MOU process. Our planned Olympic Region building project will also have a public art element as part of the project.
DOT’s public art requirement is for buildings, not highways.
The real threat of I-985 is the money it takes out of the general fund, and the League of Education Voters is only one of dozens of groups who won’t like that.
Support our schools,
vote NO on I-985.
The education community urges a NO vote against Initiative 985.
"I-985 claims to reduce traffic congestion, but its major effect will almost certainly be to take away money from classrooms," said Lisa Macfarlane, co-founder of the League of Education Voters. "Our schools need every dollar they currently get to prepare our children for college, job training programs and the workforce."